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Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract is easy to make and makes an impressive handmade gift for the holidays. It has so much more flavor and is more economical than store-bought versions.

Homemade Vanilla Extract from What The Fork Food Blog

Homemade Vanilla Extract

I’ve been making homemade vanilla extract for years. Vanilla extract is one of my favorite ingredients of all time. I add it to everything unless it’s a savory dish. I make 1 cup of extract at a time and it lasts (for me) about 2 months. Clearly, I use it like water.

It just has such a fantastic smell and adds such a great flavor to any and all baked goods. Muffins, quick breads, cakes, cookies, pancakes, waffles, you get the point. I love it. I love it so much it even got its own little shout out in my about me blurb. So I guess it’s more like, obsessed? Whatev-, there’s worse things to be obsessed with. Much worse.

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Homemade Vanilla Extract from What The Fork Food Blog

Homemade Vanilla Extract from What The Fork Food Blog

Since I use so much vanilla extract, it was costing me a small fortune buying little 2 oz bottles of it every other week. I did a little bit of research and after hearing about my grandma making her own vanilla, I decided it was time for me to start making my own too. Now, making homemade vanilla extract sounds a little intimidating, right?

Don’t be, it’s SO easy. Literally, stick your beans in some vodka, let it mingle for a while and voila – vanilla extract! You might balk at the upfront cost of vanilla beans (I did) BUT really, it’s so much more economical to make your own. Say a 2 oz bottle of pure vanilla extract is $5 at your local grocery store.

Vanilla beans are about $20 for 25 Madagascar Vanilla Beans on Amazon. I use about $4 worth of beans for one batch and about $6.50 worth of vodka. One batch will cost around $10.50 and yield one cup of vanilla extract. That’s equivalent to 4 (2 oz) bottles from the grocery store.

At $5/bottle it would end up costing you around $20, twice as much as if you make it yourself for the same amount of vanilla extract. As you can see, it’s worth it to make your own. I use Absolut vodka but you could use a cheaper vodka for even greater savings. Here’s a great list of gluten-free vodka.

Homemade Vanilla Extract from What The Fork Food Blog

Homemade vanilla extract is not only a kitchen staple, it makes a wonderfully impressive homemade gift. If there are any foodies in your life, home cooks or bakers, bon vivants; they will love this as a gift!

Homemade Vanilla Extract from What The Fork Food Blog


I’ve made this for my mom several times and I’m planning on making some for Christmas gifts this year as well. Beanilla has some really great glass jars that are perfect for storing your homemade extract in. They’re relatively cheap and have free shipping, winning! I used the 8.5 oz swingtop in these pictures.

In my opinion, the spiffy glass swingtop adds to the appeal of the homemade vanilla extract. You can also add your own labels. I made a rough cut-out and used some chalkboard gel pens. As you can see, I’m clearly do not have a crafty bone in my body. All my creative juice gets used up in the kitchen but at least I have that! Enjoy your vanilla extract!

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Homemade Vanilla Extract

5 from 8 ratings
Homemade Vanilla Extract is easy to make and makes an impressive handmade gift for the holidays. It has so much more flavor and is more economical than store-bought versions.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 1 jar
Print Rate Pin


  • 1 C vodka *
  • 5 vanilla beans I used Madagascar


  • Pour vodka into a clean, air-tight re-sealable glass jar, like a mason jar. Slit vanilla beans down the middle and then cut in half. Place vanilla beans in the container with the vodka. Seal the container tightly and shake gently. Shake a few days a week. Vanilla extract will be ready in 8 weeks.


* Check out this list for gluten-free vodka suggestions.


As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Facts are estimated and aren't always accurate. Please consult a doctor or nutritionist if you have special dietary needs.

Did you make this?Mention @whattheforkfoodblog or leave a comment rating below!


  If you’re looking for other homemade gift ideas, these Easy Chocolate Truffles would make another perfect gift. What’s not to love about chocolate?!

Chocolate Truffles from What The Fork Food Blog

Chocolate Truffles


Homemade Vanilla Extract from What The Fork Food Blog

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Recipe Rating

  1. vegetarianmamma says:

    Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays Party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait to see what you share next time!

  2. I really need to try this sometime. i burn through so much vanilla!

  3. Stephanie says:

    I LOVE this as a Christmas gift idea!!! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

  4. I started making my own vanilla a couple years ago too! You’re right, it’s so easy and SO much cheaper in the long run! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Chelsea F says:

    Beautiful pictures! Vanilla extract is so easy and makes such a great gift!

  6. 5 stars
    That is really cool! I had no idea and I doubt my friends did either. Can’t wait to share!

  7. Fabulous gift idea – those bottles are so cute!

  8. I’ve always wanted to figure out how to make my own extract at home! You make it look so easy – thanks for the recipe:)

  9. jules says:

    5 stars
    Inspired! I love making basil-infused olive oil … I’ll add this one to my next infusion exercise! Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Johnna says:

    What perfect timing! I’m in need of kitchen gifts for the holidays!

  11. Your vanilla looks so pretty!! I’ve been wanting to try this for a long time, and, now with your cost comparison, I’m definitely inspired to make some myself! You vanilla “obsession” sounds a lot like my dad’s balsamic vinegar obsession, which he pretty much puts in everything ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the Merry Monday homemade gift link up too-will definitely check out the other ideas!

  12. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) says:

    I make my own too! I love making homemade vanilla!

  13. I LOVE vanilla extract! Making my own has been on my to-do list forever!

  14. This is such a GREAT idea. Perfect gift for those of us who bake, or love vanilla on everything. Great share!

  15. Paula says:

    I have always wanted to try making my own vanilla, I may have to do it this year. Thanks for the recipe!

  16. Ali the Skinny GF Chef says:

    I did this last year and ended up with a very light colored vanilla with a very strong vodka flavor. Now I see that I used too much vodka! lol…Thanks for the post and I’ll try again. xo